Friday, April 19, 2019

Victorian Rice Pudding Recipes

USA Today Bestselling Author

I’m having a bit too much fun writing a New England debutante with adequate skills in the kitchen, now on her own as a newlywed bride in Prosperity, Colorado. Not only is her groom slipping through her fingers, but her every attempt to hold his attention runs amok. Including her desire to please him with her cooking. BTW, that current WIP (work in progress) is The Silver-Strike Bride, book 2 in Prosperity’s Mail-Order Brides.

My personal preference is historical accuracy, especially when the information is easily come by. Today I suggested to my heroine Caroline that she please her husband’s sweet-tooth with a rice pudding.

Why? Because she’d likely have the ingredients on hand, even that short distance from the busy mining city of Leadville. Vintage cookbooks and historical newspapers illustrate that cooks made rice pudding throughout the nineteenth century.

The following recipes are listed in order by date, beginning with 1828, and concluding with 1887 (though the inclusion of this longtime favorite continued indefinitely). Note the Victorian kitchen measurements (like wine glass and gill).

Rice Pudding, Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, published 1828.

Rice Custards.
Sweeten a pint of milk with loaf sugar, boil it with a stick of cinnamon, stir in sifted ground rice till quite thick. Take it off the fire; add the whites of 3 eggs well beaten; stir it again over the fire for two or three minutes, then put it into cups that have lain in cold water; do not wipe them. When cold, turn them out, and put them into the dish in which they are to be served; pour round them a custard made of the yolks of the eggs and little more than half a pint of milk. Put on the top a little red currant jelly, or raspberry jam. A pretty supper dish.
~ Rice Custards, The Summit County Beacon of Akron, Ohio on June 1, 1859.
Rice Custards recipe--a bit hard to read. See transcription.

Plain Rice Pudding, The Indiana Herald of Huntington, Indiana on August 11, 1880.

Rice Pudding with Eggs, Common Sense in the Household, published 1884.

Rice Pudding, The Homemade Cook Book, published 1885.

Rice Pudding au Caramel, The Boston Globe, December 31, 1885.

Rice Pudding Without Eggs, Alabama Beacon of Greensboro, Alabama on June 21, 1887.

Are you surprised to see that homemade pudding, made with milk and sugar and rice, could be made to thicken without eggs? I am.

Don’t these historical recipes make your mouth water? (I suppose you’d need to be a fan of vanilla and creamy puddings like I am.)

Do these recipes seem manageable over a wood- or coal-fired stove? Please scroll down and share your thoughts about these recipes and frontier homemakers making and serving rice pudding.

Here are a few related blog articles you might find interesting (click on the image(s)).
Kristin Holt | Economical Victorian Housekeeping

Might you be interested in other articles I've written for Sweet Americana Sweethearts? See my page!
Copyright © 2019 Kristin Holt LC


  1. My family, starting with my great grandmother, never put eggs in her pudding. I was surprised to see eggs added.

    On another note, I'd found a recipe for rice muffins, but when my old computer died, I lost it. I've been on a hunt for it ever since. LOL Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines.

  2. Hi Doris--

    Isn't it interesting to find differences in old fashioned recipes? Maybe eggs were scarce or great grandmother found eggs too precious to put in a pudding/custard if the dish could be thickened without. I imagine eggs make for a richer pudding... but then, so does whole milk. =)

    Rice muffins, especially if historic, sound fascinating! Who knew rice could be such an important food basic back then? I'll keep my eyes peeled in my vintage newspaper searches. Maybe I can find something like your cherished recipe for rice muffins.

    Warm regards,
    Kristin Holt

  3. I am fascinated by old recipes! I have a couple of old cook books that belonged to my great grandmother and my great aunt and I love looking through them. There are ingredients, cooking ammonia, in them that seem a bit strange��. The one that belonged to my great aunt was a school text book��

    1. Hi Glendaleona--
      Thanks for stopping by, reading, and sharing in our common fascination with vintage cookbooks. I've learned so much just by reading and turning those brittle and yellowed pages. It's particularly interesting to me to see how things have changed in recipes. I'm preparing a few related blog articles about oatmeal cookies in the Victorian era, and who was really first, when the fascination appeared, and WHY it took American Victorians so long to try oatmeal cookies. Isn't history amazing?
      Thanks for contributing!
      Warm regards,

  4. I love the comment at the end of one of the recipes--if done right, this pudding is delicious. What did it taste like if done wrong? how could milk, sugar, rice, and raisins taste bad?

    1. Hi Linda--
      I chuckled over that line... a reminder from a talented cook that if the recipe flops, it's "cockpit error". I'm still chuckling. I agree! I think the pudding ingredients must taste fantastic! Thanks for stopping by!